2014-01-12 Chase Rule

This post is a translation of the rule presented in German a few weeks ago: 2013-12-23 Verfolgungsjagd. Matt Wagner was wondering about chase rules on Google+.

This rule is part of my German house rules document, Halberds & Helmets. I just can’t remember the weird rule from the Basic D&D and Labyrinth Lord books. Inspired by skills in Apocalypse World I decided to use 2d6 and ideas by Erin Smale he left in a comment on a Google+ post of mine.

Chase: If you’re being chased, roll 2d6. On a 2, you’re surprised. On a 3–6, it’s a fight. On a 7–9, choose two points from the list. On a 10–11 choose one point. One a 12, you made it, no problem.

  • you were separated
  • it takes a long time
  • you got lost
  • you had to drop shields and backpacks

Optional modifiers. +1 for each of the following: if there are twice as many chasing you, if you have a faster movement rate, if there’s a thief in your party, if it rains, if it’s dark. -1 for each of the following: if there’s an elf or a ranger tracking you, if there are wounded party members with you, if there’s snow on the ground.

Only use the modifiers if you remember. 🙂

License: Please accept this text as a gift. It is licensed to you for any purpose with no requirements whatsoever.



In a comment on the same post, John Harper said: “The classic D&D method gives the PCs the choice to drop food and/or gold pieces to distract or delay pursuers, so it’s not just ’compare movement speeds.’”

I think that would be an even simpler alternative. In the days where the dungeon expedition was mostly a question of logistics (rations, torches and oil going down and treasure coming up) it makes sense to make the escape a question of resources spent. Forget about chase rules, so to speak.

I guess the number of hit-dice pursuing you should indicate how much you need to drop: a daily ration or 100 gold per hit die squared, perhaps?

AlexSchroeder 2014-01-13 10:02 UTC

This is the closest to what I’ve been looking for on running away so far! 🙂

Luka 2016-11-15 19:50 UTC

Let me know how it went, if you use any of it! Perhaps all it needs is a little change in the wording. Maybe this: “Chase: If you’re being chased, roll 2d6. One a 12, you made it, no problem. On a 10–11 choose how you managed to escape by picking one of the options below. On a 7–9, it was hard to make your escape. Pick two of the options below. On a 3–6, you didn’t make it. Turn around and fight. On a 2, you were outsmarted and set upon when you least expected it. Endure a surprise round before rolling for initiative!”

The options would be rewritten:

  • we split up in order to confuse them and now we need to meet up again
  • we took a long detour in order to throw them off, many hours have passed
  • we had to lighten our loads and dropped our shields and backpacks
  • (think of something else?)

– Alex Schroeder 2016-11-15 22:35 UTC

On Discord, KingPeta asked me why I stopped using this rule.

It simply wasn’t an interesting thing to do. I look at time at the table as a zero sum thing: if we’re doing a chase and it’s OK, we need to compare this to the option of just allowing player characters to get away and have a GREAT scene elsewhere.

These days I often just wait for players to say: I throw them some rations, I set a flask of oil on fire to cover the corridor behind us, I throw some gold, or something like that. If so, auto success. Or I’ll ask: anybody wearing plate mail? If so, auto fail. Move to the next scene. Rolling dice, adding modifiers, it’s just too slow and doesn’t make it more exciting.

– Alex Schroeder 2019-09-27 20:10 UTC

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